Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Mario Rossi was last seen at the Philadelphia International Airport on 12/29 - 30/ 1982. He has celebrated Christmas with his famiy in Trenton, New Jersey. Mario was driven by family members on December 29th or 30th to the Philadelphia International Airport at 9 a.m. He waved goodbye from inside the terminal, changed airline tickets, and was never seen again by the family.
In January 1983, his sister received a phone call claiming that Rossi had been killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Mario was an experienced flyer who had owned and piloted a private plane for years. Rossi's remains were never recovered, and his family is uncertain if the story about his crash was true. An investigation by Prudential years later showed that the plane Rossi supposedly died in had been resold three times in the years since.
New Jersey native Mario Rossi had a handful of NASCAR races in the 1950's. He was much better known as an engine builder and engineer, and is credited with adding the lap belt to the existing existing shoulder harness/seat belt configuration. Rossi ran his own team in in Spartanburg between 1967 and 1971. He then was involved with DiGard Racing, but was fired after the 1975 season.
Rossi had left NASCAR shortly after his departure from DiGard. His financial situation was grim and he reportedly declared bankruptcy and moved to Atlanta, later returning to Florida to work as a builder of racing boat engines.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Pennsylvania State Police
Legends of Nascar